And Here We Go Again….

We have started the process of picking finishes and getting bids on our phase two renovation and addition on our house. This one is gonna be a DOOZY as it’s a big, expensive (to me) job but one that takes this house from being livable to truly functional and enjoyable for us.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore my kitchen and new bathroom but having ONE full bathroom is NOT my idea of awesome. We plan to knock down our garage with it’s bizarre bedroom above (that you access through a teeny Hobbit sized half door) and rebuild a new garage with a master suite above, turning Andrew’s office into the master bathroom AND adding a mudroom, pantry and laundry room off the kitchen. HEAVEN!!!!

But back to the bathroom- I’ve started plotting and planning and am pretty sure I’ve nailed down the look I want. This is a SMALL master, and since we never take baths we’re opting for a big walk in shower instead of a tub/shower combo seeing as our current full bath/ soon to be guest bath has a tub if need be.  I am thinking this time I’ll go with brass.  I just love the richness and warmth and we already have a chrome/Cararra marble bath so why not mix it up a bit?

I have been madly in love with Walker Zanger’s Helsinki floor tile forever. And since it’s a small floor I am hoping I can afford to use this in there. It’s stunning. Pairing it with a grey vanity, white Caesarstone top (no more stains!) and two recessed sinks I think I’ll be a happy gal.  I looooooooove these Restoration brass rivet medicine cabinets, especially when paired with these Crate & Barrel sconces.

The shower will be simple with white beveled subway walls with white grout and white penny tile floor with darker grey grout (hides grime).  AHHHH, I’m getting so damn excited now!


A close up of the plan….


Here are some images I’ve been using as inspiration:



Brass details really make me swoon…



More shower wall inspiration.  The only issue here is that if I happen to be showering while any sort of storm is going on Baxter jumps in with me. You can imagine my surprise when I looked down from shampooing my hair to see a shaking, soaking wet little dog IN THE TUB WITH ME.



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I like the warm grey on this vanity and I’m thinking the top will be an extra thick slab of Caesarstone’s Pure White.

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This is the sconce placement I envision.

grey bathroom love

This vanity poses an interesting idea- adding drawers under the open cabinets under the sinks…. we need as much drawer storage as possible.



Brass faucets and bath fittings are hard to come by ( at least on a budget- there are some mind-blowing Waterworks ones but I’d have to sell an organ to get them).  I found a nice selecton available in a variety of brass finishes (antique, unlacquered, etc.) on Newport Brass Faucets.

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  1. I have used Newport brass faucets and never had any problems. Have them in my kids bath now, where they get abused.

  2. Love all your finishes and mood board for the new master bath. My only concern is the size of your closet. You deserve and NEED lots and lots of closet space…

  3. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out! We’re starting our own reno in a few months (addition, kitchen, baths, etc…) and my head is swimming with ideas. LOVING the gray/ white combo as well as the brass. Good luck!!

  4. I LOVE the entryway idea with the books and linen closet. So dreamy AND functional. A Master should always feel like a retreat, set apart from the rest of the house. Looks like it’s going to be fab, as per usual.

  5. Beautiful, beautiful plan! How exciting that you get to create the perfect master for you an Andrew!

    Just wanted to throw it out there. We have Caesarstone Pure White on our kitchen countertops, and it makes it impossible to see water. As in, you’ll put your hand or cup on the countertop and it will be wet, but you couldn’t even tell there was liquid there. May not be a deal breaker for you, but just thought I’d throw it out there!

    I’m sure you’ll make the right decision though, best of luck!

  6. LOVE all of this! i’ve been helping my parents reimagine their own master bath, and i think they would loveee that floor tile. INSANE. also love those sconces; would not have thought to look at crate & barrel!

  7. As usual I love the direction your going in. We chose not to put a tub in our master bath as well. It would have been a huge waste of space and money because neither my husband or I ever take baths. I’ve been very happy with my choice.

  8. I knew it would be amazing and couldn’t scroll fast enough! I love all the pattern and texture the penny tile, beveled tile and floor tile add to the design. Can you start immediately so I can see the finished space!!

  9. Love this scheme! Can’t wait to see the after photos. I’m a huge fan of the beveled subway tile right now – just used it in client’s kitchen and about to add it to her mudroom (replacing an old backsplash above some storage in there).

  10. I recently finished our basement bathroom, and did a big walk-in shower with the beveled subways. I have to admit, it looks amazeballs. The beveling just takes the subways to such a richer level, for so little more $ than a standard subway.

    One thing you might also consider to make that floor perfection is adding in the radiant heat underneath. Such a luxury (and remarkably affordable).

    Can’t wait to see it come together!

  11. Great finds! Do you mind providing the source for the brass medicine cabinet? Love it. What brass finish are you selecting from the Newport Brass line?

  12. Beautiful plan! Two things learned from our bathroom reno – First, beware of large stone with minimal grout on the floor – grout=grip, and large, smooth tiles are slippery when wet. Second, if you can get a steam shower, do it. It is incredible, especially if you don’t have a tub. Beyond luxurious during a Boston winter – I now prefer it to a soak in the bath, which I never thought would happen!

  13. What do you do about a shower drain? There are new cool thin ones and square ones now…
    and what is the best practical solution for catching long brown hair so you don’t eventually have a blockage problem?

  14. LOVE your choices! We also did away with our tub in the master bathroom. No regrets whatsoever! We have a huge shower with an overhead rain shower faucet that has so much pressure. It’s FAB!!! We also installed a hand held for easy shower cleaning. I also agree with going for a steam shower if it’s in the budget. Our NYC building does not allow them, so I was bummed I couldn’t travel down that road.

    Love the Restoration mirror! I have it in my son’s bathroom along with those Waterworks faucets at the end of your column. Also used a Hicks Pendant in black/brass. Looks amazing.

    Another thing I can’t live without in my bathrooms are heated towel bars! They are the best invention ever!!! Never have that musty towel smell again since the bar drys your towels quickly. Plus you can’t beat a nice warm towel when getting out of the shower. I went with the Waterworks model.

    Last, but not least, MAURICIO you are an idiot. Start your own blog instead of trolling others.

  15. Loving your mood board. We are planning a master bath reno to begin in a couple of months. You’ve given me so many new ideas to think about.

  16. Another helpful hint…… add an electric socket behind one of the drawers in the bathroom. This way you can drill a hole through the back of the drawer, ad an extension cord and plug in your hairdryer. This way it’s always plugged in and ready, yet out of sight and convenient!

  17. If you haven’t already, you might consider adding a playroom/family room to your plans. You’ve shared that you want kids. A playroom is a must-have IMHO, unless you don’t mind having the rest of the house covered with all of the kid paraphenalia. I had this idea that the kid stuff would all stay in the nursery/kids BR. Ha!

  18. Oh my. I am now in love with that Helsinki tile as well. Beautiful!

    If you’re going to fully enclose your shower, I highly recommend turning it into a steam shower. Absolutely wonderful after working out!

  19. Kathleen- as much as I would love to, our lot size won’t allow us to add on any more to the house. We have a finished basement we hope to turn into a playroom one day and plan to finish the sunroom into a small living space/ family room. And Patricia, I would LOVE a bigger closet but we can’t build any bigger than we already have plans for (small urban lots and a lot coverage law mean keeping things small).

  20. I would love, love, LOVE to get rid of our tub and have a big walk-in shower – but no dice this time around, in a unit we want to keep rentable. Can’t wait to watch the reno unfold!

  21. How exciting! Love everything you have selected. If you end up wanting a marble look for your countertop, we recently used Caesarstone’s Frosty Carrina in our master bath and kids’ hall bath renovations and were very pleased. It looks similar to the real marble we used in our kitchen (Imperial Danby, a Vermont marble) but obviously is maintenance-free. We used another marble look-alike in our basement reno (Cambria Torquay) but I much prefer the Caesarstone Frosty Carrina (which did not exist when we redid our basement). London Grey is another good Caesarstone marble lookalike, but I was going for a “marble” that was warmer and less gray and Frosty Carrina fit the bill.

  22. Oh, and I wanted to second Barbara’s rec to put an electric outlet in a cabinet or drawer. We had one put in a tall cabinet in between the two sinks, for my hairdryer, and now I’m kicking myself since I got a Clarisonic for Christmas and could use another outlet (the 2 items won’t plug into the same outlet at the same time because their plugs are too big). I would recommend 2 outlets for this reason, maybe one in a drawer and one in a cabinet for a taller item like a Clarisonic charger that won’t fit upright in a drawer.

  23. So much to look forward to- have fun! With the enclosed vanity you will avoid having to find brass plumbing for under the sink. And with the toilet positioned as it is you won’t have to stare at that ugly silver flex hose and shutoff valve that feed the tank (unless you are in the shower)- my biggest regret with brass fixtures. Can’t wait to follow along.

  24. I can’t imagine life without two full bathrooms and a mater suite. I just need my own daily “getting ready” space…and Mr. Chat gets the guest bathroom. Also, when you have overnight guests, it’s awkward having only one full bathroom. I’m loving the brass fixtures and I’m not really into brass or gold, but it is very pretty. I LOVE grey cabinets too and your built-in dog seat is way too cute. Perhaps in my next home, I’ll consider a built-in cat seat.

  25. Is there a way to access the closet from the bathroom? That way whoever is still sleeping is undisturbed by whoever is showering and getting dressed. Also maybe radiant floor heating? Rooms above the garage are always cold! It’s going to be awesome!

  26. I am so relieved to hear your master bath plans. I have been in a complete tailspin trying to decide about my own. We live in a fifty year old house that we love but you know what comes with that territory…small baths. There isn’t enough room in our master for a tub and shower and I don’t really want to do the combo thing. Let’s face it, as you get older no one is going to be using their tub. There is one located in another bathroom so problem solved. In my mind, I always thought a master must include both however, I think more importantly is that it appear super chic, classic and as roomy as possible. Thanks again.

  27. Dang lot size and planning permission. Spoilers of all the best day dreams. Another possibility regarding closets; change the bookshelf / linen closet into Andrew’s closet and add bookshelves to the master bedroom on either side of the bed. Okay, still no linen closet, but what do you need more? Extra space for toilet paper and towels or hanging space for wonderful clothes?

  28. Love it! I also love that it very closely resembles the master bath reno we just completed! You’re reassuring me that I have decent taste.

    Quick question: What are the dimensions of your vanity? We have a smaller bathroom and I let my husband convince me that we needed more storage and only one sink. Worst. Idea. Ever.

    Also, two more regrets I’ll share (in the hopes they help others):
    (1) That whole “glass half-wall next to a toilet” look only really works if the toilet is tankless — otherwise you are left staring at the tank and, if you are like me, it will bother you until the end of time. My contractor suggested placing a tiled quarter wall there and I always wish I had listened to him.
    2) Do the steam shower. do it. do it. do it.

  29. Lovely, Erin. We love our Caesarstone nougat counter in our gray/white master bath (found a remnant for $)! Three thoughts for your consideration:
    1. Radiant flooring–we did it in our tiny master (also w/ just a shower) and it was surprisingly inexpensive given our limited sq footage. Best decision we made.
    2. You mention the dogs with the half-shower glass wall–little kiddos are just as likely to try to come in. You might want to think about a frameless glass door to keep everyone on the right side of soaking wet.
    3. For our shower floor we bought 1″ lagos azul limestone hex tiles on EBay. Our seller was a reputable brick-and-mortar establishment out of Tennessee with an EBay arm. Our local tile shop wanted to charge us over $50/sq foot, even with our contractor’s discount, which is just…NO. Maybe you’d have similar luck for your fixtures?

  30. I second the steam shower suggestion. I always thought I’d like an open shower but the enclosed shower provides so much warmth, especially when you shave your legs.

  31. Oh man, we JUST bought those antique brass rivet cabinets from RH for our attic reno. Also putting in a master suite. (Also in Newton, hi!) Picked up a pair of the Grand Edison sconces as well, to flank the medicine cabinets, and a narrow set of built-in shelving between the medicine cabinets will let us put pretty products and apothecary jars on display. It’s exciting!

    We’re going the non-traditional route with a reclaimed wood vanity top, and if I could also sell an organ to afford these Kallista table legs that START at $2897 that would be super, because they’re splendid:

  32. Funnily enough Patricia, that is just what we did earlier this week. Andrew’s closets will be in the entry hall, mine will be the walk in. :) Linens will go in the drawers under the window seat in the bedroom. :)

  33. These picks are insane! (not that I’m surprised :) FYI, not that you need my advice, but we were just in a hotel with that half shower wall, and it never got nice and toasty in the shower.

  34. This looks so amazing, I can’t wait to see your progress! Not only did I pour over every on of your pictures but I also read every comment to see what everyone else had recommend :) Congrats on this next renovation!!!

  35. Hey Erin I’m a big fan of your blog for years and live near you. I feel I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t tell you about an amazing contractor, Don Courbon. He is the utmost professional and perfectionist. He renovated my house on the Cape and my kitchen. He has renovated lots of my neighbors homes. Check out his website He is pricey, but if you need a “no stress” situation where everything gets done on time and with no surprises then he is the one. And his subs are gentleman.

    And your choices are amazing as always :)

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